ESI Update – Week of December 9th



ESI Update

Week of December 9


Principals and ESI Team Members,

Last week the world lost a man who has been likened to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi. After 27 years of imprisonment, Nelson Mandela was released from prison and continued his struggle to end the immoral and inhumane system of apartheid in South Africa.  While there was much excitement when he was released and then when he became the first black president of South Africa, Mr. Mandela recognized the difficult and hard work that was necessary to turn the country around.

It is with that spirit of perseverance and resilience that we continue the work of assuring that every young person that graduates from high school is prepared for college and various career paths. We too recognize that this is hard work, but as Mr. Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

In this issue you will find the following features:

  • News and Updates: ESI Liaison Meeting!
  • Opportunities: Youth Activism Teen Talk!
  • Reminders: Scholars for Educational Opportunity!
  • School Spotlight: El Puente Academy
  • Did You Know? In Teaching Algebra, The Not-So-Secret Way to Students’ Hearts
  • Shout Outs: New Design High School

News and Updates

*This feature is intended to keep you up-to-date on what’s happening in ESI. 

ESI Liaison Meeting December 19

The next ESI Liaison Meeting is Thursday, December 19th at Open Society Foundations. Liaison meetings are an opportunity for ESI Point Persons to meet, collaborate, and share best practices.

All ESI Point Persons/School Liaisons are expected to attend.

This month’s session will include presentations from Professor Shaun Harper of the University of Pennsylvania and The Education Trust. In addition, Research Alliance (RA) will share your school’s results from last spring’s student surveys. 

Where: Open Society Foundations, 224 W 57th Street, New York, NY 10019

When: Thursday, December 19th

Time: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided



Youth Activism Teen Talk at the Schomburg

The Schomburg Junior Scholars are hosting a Teen Talk with the Dream Defenders (a youth led human rights organization from Florida, directed by Black and Brown youth who confront inequality and the Criminalizing of our Generation with nonviolent Direct Action and building of collective power in our communities) this Saturday, December 14, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

ESI young men and interested staff members are invited to attend and be part of this special event. Teens from across NYC will have the unique opportunity to dialogue with the Junior Scholars and these committed youth activists who are organizing and working today in the tradition of Civil Rights Activists such as SCLC, CORE, FOR, and SNCC.  The Dream Defenders will discuss their work and encourage teens to find their power, utilize storytelling, and organize their peers for collective action.

Where: Schomburg Center for Black Culture, Langston Hughes Auditorium, 515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY, 10037

When: Saturday, December 14

Time: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Registration: Seating is limited. You may RSVP by clicking here.


Sponsors for Educational Opportunity

The deadline for New York applicants is this FridayDecember 13, 2013! 

Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) is a nonprofit organization that prepares low-income public high school students for admission to the nation’s most competitive colleges and then supports them during college. The program begins in March of the student’s 9th grade year and the program is currently in the process of recruiting for this Spring. The program is opening to both male and female students, but the organization is looking to recruit more Black and Latino men for this upcoming year.

Who Should Apply?

  • 9th grade public high school students in New York City
  • Students with at least a 77% GPA or 2.0 GPA

For more information, click here. To apply, click here.

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”

–Nelson Mandela



School Spotlight

*This feature is intended to give you insight into what is happening in other ESI schools. We hope you enjoy your “visit”!

El Puente Academy 

Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Principal: Wanda Vazquez

Total student enrollment: 219 

Percent Latino/Latina: 88%

Percent Black: 10%

Contracted Providers 2012-2013: Efficacy Institute

Promising Practices: On Wednesday, November 27th, El Puente celebrated Unity Day. Our students lead workshops/seminars on various topics pertaining to and honoring our cultural identities.

One of the exhilarating workshops was lead by the Liberators’ group for the males in our student body on the topic of Brotherhood. Another powerful activity students enjoyed was the Alumni Panel Discussion on college and career readiness.

To learn more about these promising practices and the other ESI strategies that are being implemented in Year 2 at El Puente Academy, please contact Tina Lee at

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

— Nelson Mandela



In Teaching Algebra, the Not-So-Secret Way to Students’ Hearts: From the article: “Education researchers are beginning to validate what many teachers have long known — connecting learning to student interests helps the information stick. This seems to work particularly well with math, a subject many students say they dislike because they can’t see its relevance to their lives.”



Shout Outs

Shout out to the students and staff at New Design High School for committing to taking part in the SEO Scholars Program!

On December 2, Cristina Velez from Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) spent the day at New Design High School giving presentations to all five of the 9th grade Design for Life classes. Staff are working with students, holding application clinics both during and after school, until the application deadline. Thanks to Cristina and SEO and best of luck to the ESI students applying for this awesome opportunity!

Do you have a strategy, teacher, or program at your school that you wish to highlight? If so, send an email to for inclusion in our ESI Weekly Update.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

–Nelson Mandela




Spread the love
Posted in: